Happy Holidays!

December 20, 2010

Well, a friend of mine in Germany sent me his holiday greetings letter describing adventures his family had been on and progress he had made in the renewable energy field he works in.  This all got me thinking.  I hadn’t planned on writing a holiday greetings letter this year for a few reasons but he inspired me so here goes.  I should warn you, however, that this will not be a normal Holiday Greetings Letter.

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Happy Holidays from rainy southern California!

2010 has been insane to say the least.  Aspects of it were typical Jason and other parts of it included terra incognita.  This year was about understanding who I am, finding my place in the world, dealing with rejection and new hope.

The year began with a kick ass New Year’s Eve party with some good friends that had me taking a tram home at 4.30am, the one day a year the trams runs that late in Freiburg.  Less than a week later I was single again.  The breakup came as a shock to me but I’ve had a year to process it all and it’s for the best.  In fact, I’m grateful that she broke up with me because it put me in a position where I had to take stock of my life and figure out what was important.  The first few months were a bit rough, but they were necessary for me to get myself ready for whatever else may come in life.

As far as travelling, it was a somewhat typical year for me.  I was in California for 3 weeks in February, then Romania for a week in late March, Bosnia and Croatia in May/June for 2 weeks,  10 days in Estonia in August, then California for 5 weeks in September and finally almost a week in Lleida, Spain near Barcelona.  Romania and Spain were my first two business trips ever, teaching at universities there.

Teaching continued to go well enough. I currently have 8 employers and I’m planning something new for 2011, that being a seminar based on the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.  It’s still teaching but moving in a slightly new direction, that being part motivational speaker and part life coach. I’m excited about it because I’d like to branch into new things but it’s not so easy once you are well-established.

Speaking of branching out into new things, I applied for two masters’ programs in May of this year, one being Renewable Energy Management and the other Environmental Governance.  Much to my shock and chagrin, I was rejected from both of them.  I had planned to move my life in a new direction and the universe let me know that studying Renewable Energy wasn’t my destiny.  I didn’t give up easily, however, still doing a few internships for renewable, including a few days at a wind turbine company in Estonia.

I finished writing my fifth novel, “The Newropean”. It’s about teaching English in Germany and also about some of the problems I had with the foreign authorities some years ago and I mashed up different experiences into a fictional plot.  I think I would like to work on it more next year and possibly send it to some publishers.

I also had 4 exhibitions this year: March in California, late March in Romania, July in Germany and just yesterday here in California.  The two exhibitions here in California were to raise money for charities so it feels good to give back to society a bit.

One aspect of my life that is not as easy to write about is my love life because it’s a bit up in the air.  I’ve fallen in love with a woman from Poland named Karolina.  She’s a nurse in a senior living facility.  We met at a couchsurfing meeting in March.  We have an amazing connection and I hope in the next couple of months we’ll be living together and we’ll officially be a couple.  It’s a very exciting time for me but it’s also hard because of the complications of getting a relationship together sometimes.  However, I have a good feeling about it and I can’t wait to be with her.

As for next year, it’s going to be a much different year than I’ve been having the past years. First off, I plan to travel a lot less.  The past 11 years I have travelled more than anyone I know but I had plenty of time to think about it this year. I still like travelling but couchsurfing has become a bit more difficult because I find myself wanting a bit more comfort when I travel.  That means getting a hotel room which increases costs which means travelling less.  I accept that.  I don’t mind travelling less.  As I said, I hope Karolina and I will be living together and she’s such a fantastic girl it will feel like an adventure just being with her.  I do plan to go with her to California in September and my parents are coming to visit in May and we’ll try and make a family vacation to Prague if possible so there is still some adventures out there waiting for me, just fewer new countries and exotic places and I have to be honest with you.  I’m totally ok with it. I have changed this year and travelling is not the most important thing in the world to me anymore.

Also in 2011, I hope to earn my German driver’s license, to finish writing my 6th book entitled “The Couchsurfing Stories” while improving “The Newropean”.  I also want to put together a photo book, to serve as a portfolio but also as a coffee table book that I could sell.  Other than that, I’d like to improve my German but my main goal of 2011 is to get together with Karolina and start a life with her.  That doesn’t sound toooOOoooo cheesy, does it? 🙂

So I want to wish you all Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year and I hope our paths cross again soon!